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Tuesday 14 June 2011

Day 36 - Central Time

Todays mileage: 57
Total mileage: 1,700
End point: North Platte, NE

I awoke in the middle of the night to a brutal storm, with what I think are the strongest winds I have encountered to date. The whole of my tent was flexing and in a sligh panic I got on the weather website to check for tornados as a precaution. The weather website claimed the current consditions in Ogallala were calm with a clear sky - little did they know! The only comfort I could take was that instead of pegging my tent into the ground on the side facing the wind, I had instead attached it to a rather large steel park bench by way of straps and bungee cords. The bench which I had moved into position that evening was extremely heavy, so that I was only able to move it maybe a foot at a time. I figured nothing except a hurricane or tornado was going to shift that bench.

Next morning I lay in after having my sleep disturbed for a good couple of hours. Packing up was a trial due to the wind, but at least today it was blowing in the right direction; a westerly. My route for the day was to take route 30 which runs parallel to the interstate on the north side of the platte river. The road was great and quite quiet running parallel to the train track. Today I saw my first ever double decker cargo train, quite a site. Also I saw some strange signs forbidding the collection of hay from the ditch next to the railway track. I am assuming by this the mean you can't mow the grass and keep the cuttings. I thought this slightly bizarre as there seems to be more than enough grass to go round in Nebraska - maybe its an epidemic I just don't know about.

I passed through the following towns:
Roscoe - nearly a ghost town with lots of abandoned buildings
Paxton - this place was like Roscoe but had a bar!
Sutherland - delightful place with a well kept park where I stopped for lunch
Hershey - great name, enough said

Arriving in North Platte I wanted to get to a bike shop to get a new helmet, this will keep all of you 'safe riding' well wishers in place. I had located the bike shop on 5th street but on cycling down the road I was unable to locate said shop. I flagged down a fellow cyclist who told me the shop was closed for a vacation, and set about directing me to another shop. In the midst of some complex hand movements, a red truck pulled up and the female driver turned out to be the owner of the shop I was searching for. She directed me to the green house just across the road which, now it had been pointed out, was indeed a bike shop. Don Draper could have probably had a few suggestions to improve its signage. The shop had been closed and was a mountain of bikes - chaos.

Patty eventually negotiated bikes so I could get to the helmet section. I now have a new Giant helmet and perhaps an even more exciting purchase - a new pump. My micro pump has been pretty useless and this pump whilst being only a few inches longer can actually be used like a traditional floor pump and is 10 times more effective. If the land stays as flat as this over the next few days don't be supirsed if I whip out some bike pump photos, its going to get really exciting around here. Patty only charged me $85, for what at list price should have been $140 so she was barely charging me more than cost. She said she liked to help a tourist in need out and was only popping in between a trip to the Grand Canyon and further vacation in South Dakota.

Oh, I forgot the most important thing and title of the post. Just before Sutherland upon entering Lincoln county I have now crossed into Central Time. Disappointed there was no sign. The downside of today is I lost an hour, but will have lighter evenings. I found a great campsite with a swimming pool next to a rather interesting mock fort which claims to be a shop and museum. I haven't ventured inside but it is quite impressive from the outside. I can't help but think these forts would have been quite easy to burn down if you are an attacker! I am now closely monitoring the weather to plan my next movements.

P.s. Mr.Evans spotted an error from yesterday - he is correct I will not be cycling on July 25th, I meant to say I hope to be in Tulsa for June 25th. Glad no one is picking up on my typos as I am sure they are everywhere!

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